My friend Sara is a great cook, and she's forever amazing me with her deftness at making something transcendent out of a few simple ingredients. A few weeks ago, she had me over for dinner and whipped up a delicious salad as I sat at her counter: she whisked together anchovy, lemon juice and olive oil for a simple dressing and then tossed it with dandelion greens, sliced radishes, salt and pepper. It was perfect with the roast chicken she served alongside it.
Sara doesn't tend to favor elaborate, cloying desserts -- more than once she's ended the meal with a plate of her homemade "granola bars." They're chewy and rich, a jumble of nuts, cereal, seeds and dried fruit barely held together with almond butter and honey (no baking involved). She's not shy with the salt, which I think really sets these bars apart. Last week, she shared the recipe with me, and now I'm sharing it with you. These are great to have around, as a dessert or a snack.
A few notes from Sara: "I use unsweetened or apple juice sweetened cranberries; otherwise they are too sweet for me. Also the "glue" ratio (almond butter and honey) to nuts/oats/seeds/crispies is not an exact science -- just a general disclaimer. I will give a nod to the Minimalist, because I got the brilliant idea of introducing brown rice crispies from him, thus forever lightning up the dreaded granola bar. (They should probably be called something different than granola bars, too -- I think that's a generic term and doesn't really do them justice.)"
Sara's "Granola Bars"
Adapted from Sara
Makes about 30 2-inch bars
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1 cup raw sliced almonds
- 1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 3 cups brown rice crispies (you can substitute regular rice crispies or puffed rice)
- 1 cup dried apricots, sliced thinly
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup almond butter
- 1 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon